Concord administrators plan to stop mother from praying outside school
By KATHLEEN RONAYNE
The mother who prayed outside Concord High School every school day for several months will not be allowed to continue the practice next school year, according to correspondence between Superintendent Chris Rath and a national advocacy group that complained about her activity.
Lizarda Urena, the mother of two students, began praying on the steps outside the high school auditorium every morning after two bullets were found in a school toilet in February. She would spend about 15 minutes reading Bible verses and calling out prayers for the safety of the students. When the Monitor wrote a story about Urena in mid-May, both Principal Gene Connolly and school board President Kass Ardinger said they hadn’t received any complaints about her actions.
But that month a Concord resident contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation to express concern about Urena’s actions. After requesting information about Concord High policies, the group’s attorney sent a letter to Rath saying the district should not allow Urena to continue praying at the school. Rath responded July 12, saying the district would tell Urena she could no longer pray on school district property.